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Link: • Pehr Kalm to Carl Linnaeus, 14 June 1748 n.s.
Dated 3. Junii 1748. Sent from London (Great Britain) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in Swedish.


Pehr Kalm’sKalm, Pehr (1716-1779).
Swedish. Botanist and traveller,
professor of natural history at
Åbo. Disciple of Linnaeus.
Travelled in North America 1748-1751.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
is tired of London where he to stay longer than expected because his departure for America has been delayed, but will finally take place the following week. The destination is Pennsylvania. Pehr ElviusElvius, Pehr (1710-1749).
Swedish. Engineer and mathematician,
secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy
of Sciences.
will tell Linnaeus more about it, as Kalm has reported in detail to Elvius in a letter about the reasons for the delay. He mentions two: 1. the war [Kalm refers to the Austrian succession war, which lasted 1740-1748] 2. the former Minister Kingwicht, or whatever his name, did not make out a pass for him. After the armistice it is not needed, but at the time it delayed him. Kalm received a letter from Linnaeus at the end of April [this letter has not come down to us]. He comments on some points in this letter: 1. Linnaeus wondered why Kalm did not go to see the Chelsea Physic Garden at once instead of trying to learn English. The reason for this is that Philip MillerMiller, Philip (1691-1771).
British. Gardener of the Chelsea Physic
Garden. Corresponded with many
botanists. His rich herbarium was sold
to Joseph Banks. Correspondent of
does not want to speak Latin, so a visit there would have been pointless. Apart from that, Kalm did not feel well, and Lars JungströmJungström, Lars Swedish.
Gardener. Accompanied Pehr Kalm as his
assitant on Kalm´s voyage to North
America. After his retun to Sweden in
1751 he was appointed a gardener at the
castle of Ekolsund, planting American
was critically ill. 2. Linnaeus did not like Kalm visiting William EllisEllis, William (c. 1700-1758).
British. Writer on agriculture.
. This visit was on behalf of Sten Carl BielkeBielke, Sten Carl (1709-1753).
Swedish. Baron, government official,
patron of science, and naturalist. One
of the founders of the Royal Swedish
Academy of Sciences. Private pupil of
Linnaeus. Close friend of Pehr Kalm,
whose voyage to America he supported
financially. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
who paid for this trip. As Linnaeus will see, this trip led to some very valuable observations. 3. Linnaeus did not approve of what Kalm wrote about natural history being just like A, B, C, D. Kalm explains explicitly what he really meant, namely that Anatomy of course is important, but no discipline can compeat with Natural History, as it forms the basis of economy, commerce, manufacturing etc. Kalm also reminds Linnaeus that he left his letter to the royal superintendent [Carl HårlemanHårleman, Carl
(1700-1753). Swedish. Nobleman,
architect, royal superintendent.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
] unsealed so that Linnaeus, if he found something in it that was unclear or should not be told, could correct the text before it was read out in the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences [Kungliga Svenska VetenskapsakademienKungliga Svenska Vetenskapsakademien,
Swedish. The Royal Swedish
Academy of Sciences, Stockholm. Founded
in 1739.
]. Kalm has visited Hans Sloane’sSloane, Hans (1660-1753).
British. Physician, naturalist and
collector. Secretary of the Royal
Society in 1693, president in 1727.
Sloane’s collections of natural history
objects were donated to the English
nation and were one of cornerstones of
the British Museum (1759). Correspondent
of Linnaeus.
collection twice. The second time he had received Linnaeus’s letter with his specific wishes [this letter has not come down to us, see above]. Kalm has now counted the scales of the cobra kept there, preserved in spirits in a big glass bottle. There were 183 abdominal scales, and 60-61 caudal ones.

Linnaeus’s new edition of Systema naturae [Systema naturae, 6th editionLinnaeus, Carl Systema
6th edition (Stockholm,
1748). Soulsby no. 51.
] is in great demand in England but not available; scholarly people complain that they have no opportunity to buy Linnaeus’s works, which are printed in Sweden, and they have asked Kalm to remind Linnaeus about that. Neither Hortus CliffortianusLinnaeus, Carl Hortus
Cliffortianus, plantas exhibens quas in
hortis tam vivis quam siccis Hartecampi
in Hollandia coluit [...] Georgius
(Amsterdam 1737). Soulsby
no. 328.
nor Hortus upsaliensisLinnaeus, Carl Hortus
, resp. S. Nauclér
(Upsala, 1745). Soulsby no. 1424.
can be purchased in London, and if one single copy is shown at the market it will be very expensive. Kalm is very pleased to hear that Johan LecheLeche, Johan (1704-1764).
Swedish. Botanist, plant collector and
physician. Studied the flora of Scania.
His herbarium was bought by Joseph
Banks. Professor of medicine at
Åbo. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
has been appointed professor in Åbo. John MitchellMitchell, John (1711-1768).
British/American. Physician and
botanist. Born in Virginia. After
studies in medicine at the University of
Edinburgh he returned to Virginia as a
physician, but left America for London
in 1746. Famous for his map of eastern
North-America, known as the Mitchell
Map, first published in 1755.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, who Kalm sees every day, is a real gentleman. He has shown his collection of American plants that, sadly, are in a deplorable state after being vandalized by pirates. People in England are eagerly looking forward to the publication of Linnaeus’s Materia MedicaLinnaeus, Carl Materia
Medica. Liber I. De plantis secundum:
genera, loca, nomina, qualitates, vires,
differentias, durationes, simplicia,
modos, usus, synonyma, culturas,
praeparata, potentias, composita,
digestus, &c.
I-II (Stockholm
1749). Soulsby no. 968.
and hope it will be published in Latin. Kalm has not been in Oxford. The new professor of botany there [Kalm means Humphrey SibthorpSibthorp, Humphrey (1713-1797).
British. Succeeded Johann Jacob
Dillenius as Sherardian professor of
botany at Oxford. Father of John
Sibthorp. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
] is a disciple of Johann Jacob Dillenius’sDillenius, Johann Jacob
(1684-1747). German/British. Studied at
Giessen. Sherardian professor of botany
at Oxford. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
. His knowledge of botany is said to be poor, but his friends in London are said to be Linneans!

Kalm has tried to find a sample of alsine for Linnaeus but in vain. Spring has not been so late in England for 60 years. Kalm has met Sloane who is now 94, the last now living of John Ray’sRay, John (1627-1705).
British. Naturalist and clergyman. One
of the most influential botanists before
friends. Sloane is very interested in Kalm’s plans to go to North America and says he is sure Kalm will find new plants there. Sloane’s best friend was Tancred RobinsonRobinson, Tancred
(c.1654-1748). British. Baronet of
Newby, physician and naturalist
who recently died a nonagenarian with all his faculties intact. Sloane’s collection is enormous. He has bought most of the material and spent more than 100. 000 pounds. It would be a pity if the collection was scattered after his death. It is rumoured that both the English government and the French King [Louis XVLouis XV, (1710-1774).
French. Reigned 1715-1774.
] are interested in acquiring it. Botany has declined since the days of Ray, Leonard PlukenetPlukenet, Leonard (1642-1706).
British. Botanist and physician.
Botanist to Mary II (wife of William
III). Superintendent of Hampton Court.
and James PetiverPetiver, James (c.1663-1718).
British. Apothecary. Collector of
natural history specimens. His herbarium
contained more than 5000 items.
. Miller will publish a new enlarged edition of his Gardener’s Dictionary, illustrated by Georg Dionysius EhretEhret, Georg Dionysius
(1710-1770). German/British. Botanical
illustrator. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
[Kalm refers to the third edition, which was published in 1748, The Gardeners DictionaryMiller, Philip The Gardeners
Dictionary : Containing the methods of
cultivating and improving the kitchen,
fruit, and flower-garden, as also the
physic-garden, wilderness, conservatory,
and vineyard. In which likewise are
included the practical parts of
husbandry; and the method of making and
preserving wines, according to the
practice of foreign vignerons. Abridged
from the two volumes in folio, by the
author, Philip Miller, F.R.S. gardener
to the Worshipful Company of
Apothecaries, at their botanic garden,
in Chelsea. In three volumes
]. The current fashion in literature is things that entertain: comedies, tragedies, novels etc. Young people, both men and women, are interested in this kind of literature. Georg Edwards’sEdwards, George (1693-1773).
British. Ornithologist and artist.
Visited the Netherlands, France and
Scandinavia. Best known for his
History of birds (1747-1751).
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
Ornithology [Kalm refers to A natural history of uncommon birdsEdwards, George A natural
history of birds : Most of which have
not been figur'd or describ'd, and
others very little known from obscure or
too brief Descriptions without Figures,
or from Figures very ill design'd.
Containing the figures of sixty birds
and two quadrupedes, engrav'd on
fifty-two copper plates, after curious
Original Drawings from Life, and exactly
colour'd. With full and accurate
(London, [1743]). [Also
issued as part of: 'A natural history of
uncommon birds', London, [1751]].
] is excellent. Kalm has met him at Cromwell Mortimer’sMortimer, Cromwell (?-1752).
British. Doctor of medicine. Physician,
secretary of the Royal Society.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
. Edwards will soon publish a second volume [Kalm refers to A natural history of uncommon birdsEdwards, George A natural
history of uncommon birds, and of some
other rare and undescribed animals
[...]. To which is added a [... ]general
idea of drawing and painting in water
colours; with instructions for etching
on copper with Aqua Fortis: likewise
some thoughts on the passage of
etc., 4 pt., 4 vols. (London,
]. It is a shame though, that Edwards have not studied the old authorities in this subject, many of the birds in his work are described before him. He seldom gives synonymous names, but only his own name and description; very briefly he also gives some characteristics. Another painter is publishing illustrations of all insects and the herbs they feed on [Kalm presumably refers to August Johann Rösel von Rosenhof and his work, Der monatlich-herausgegebenen Insecten-BelustigungRösel von Rosenhof, August
Insecten-Belustigung erster [-vierter]
Theil [...] Nebst einer Vorrede, in
welcher von dem Nutzen der Insecten
gehandelt, was sie seyen gezeiget, und
von der Eintheilung derselben Nachricht
gegeben wird
, 4 vol.
(Nürnberg, 1746-[1761].
]. Nobody can tell Kalm what mahogany is, only that the tree is red and that it originates from America. Kalm describes in detail the construction and function of the greenhouse stoves used for the heating in the Chelsea Physic Garden. In his second volume of Gardener’s Dictionary Miller describes what temperature each plant needs. Kalm will send this volume to Bielke. Crambe maritima is cultivated everywhere and is delicious. It cannot be crambe that caused the poisoning at Marstrand that Linnaeus mentions in Wäst-göta-resaLinnaeus, Carl
Wäst-göta-resa på
riksens högloflige ständers
befallning förrättad år
1746. Med anmärkningar uti
oeconomien, naturkunnogheten,
antiquiteter, inwånarnes seder och
(Stockholm 1747).
. Leaves of Hyoscyamus or some other plant must have been added by mistake. Kalm sends some seeds of this to Linnaeus via Bielke. Miller and Ehret are sending other seeds to Stockholm with Captain TörnlundTörnlund, Nils Swedish.
. Ehret is sending drawings to Linnaeus. Kalm has been invited to dinner by Archibald CambellCampbell, Archibald
(1682-1761). British. 3rd Duke of
Argyll. Statesman.
, who has a stately garden full of all sorts of trees. He is sending boxes containing rare trees and a list of their names to Linnaeus. He also thanks Linnaeus for seeds he has received and says that those of new seeds, that have duplicates, should be shared between Linnaeus and Bielke, because both have sent seds to him. Kalm is also very impressed by the cedar trees that are growing in Campbell’s garden. Johan Gottschalk WalleriusWallerius, Johan Gottschalk
(1709-1785). Swedish. Professor of
chemistry at Uppsala.
writes in his MineralogiaWallerius, Johan Gottschalk
Mineralogia, eller Mineral-riket,
indelt och beskrifvit
that there are two opinions about the origin of chalk: 1. it is young soil, 2. it comes from flint. Kalm contests this; both are wrong and he asks of Linnaeus to tell Wallerius this: it is chalk that develops into flint, and he can prove it! He has spent some weeks in Hertfordshire, where there are many chalk formations. Kalm will deal with this problem extensively when he has returned home and published his intended travel report. Kalm is impatient with the long delay in the departure for America. However, if he had postponed it until March or April this year, his obligation towards the University of Åbo and his benefactor there [Bielke] would have prevented him from setting out on this expedition. Therefore, he must be content with the situation. Everyone tells him that now is the best time to go to America, as it is peace there, so says Mitchell a and so say others. Linnaeus has many disciples in England who study his works eagerly, and Isaac LawsonLawson, Isaac (?-1747).
British. Scottish botanist and
physician. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
is their teacher. They can recitate extensive paragraphs from Linnaeus’s works. As he has not heard from the Academy of Sciences when he ought to be back, Kalm has decided for himself that he will probably return from America by October next year. He will then meet Linnaeus. Letters to him can be addressed to Abraham SpaldingSpalding, Abraham (1712-1782).
Swedish. Merchant, London, in
partnership with Gustaf Brander.
, even if Kalm will not receive them until he is on his way home. Miller does not cover his pots and only uses soil. Kalm sends his regards to Olof CelsiusCelsius, Olof (1670-1756).
Swedish. Orientalist and theologian,
professor at Uppsala. Botanist and plant
collector, benefactor of Linnaeus.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, Samuel KlingenstjernaKlingenstierna, Samuel
(1698-1765). Swedish. Physicist and
mathematician, professor of experimental
physics at Uppsala. Correspondent of
, Martin StrömerStrömer, Martin
(1707-1770). Swedish. Astronomer,
professor in Uppsala from 1745.
, Olof CelsiusCelsius, Olof (1716-1794).
Swedish. Bishop, historian, politician.
, Nils Rosén von RosensteinRosén von Rosenstein, Nils
(1706-1773). Swedish. Physician
and professor of medicine. Colleague of
Linnaeus at Uppsala. The founder of
modern pediatrics. Correspondent of
, Johan IhreIhre, Johan (1707-1780).
Swedish. Philologist. Professor of Latin
and later of eloquence and political
science at Uppsala.
, Anders BerchBerch, Anders (1711-1774).
Swedish. Professor of economics,
, Johan AmnellAmnell, Johan Johannis
(1718-1789). Swedish. Professor of
greek 1747 and theology 1761, Uppsala.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, Daniel SolanderSolander, Daniel (1707-1786).
Swedish. Professor of Law, Uppsala.
Married to Anna Margareta Solander.
Brother of Carl Solander and uncle to
Daniel Solander. Correspondent of
, Olof Petrus HiorterHiorter, Olof Petrus
(1696-1750). Swedish. Professor of
astronomy at Uppsala 1732-1737.
, Petrus AlmAlm, Petrus (1711-1769).
Swedish. Headmaster at a school in
Uppsala, Vicar of Tuna and Stafby.
Brother of Erik Alm.
and Erik AlmAlm, Erik (1713-1765).
Swedish. Clergyman. Household chaplan at
Bielke´s mother, Ursula Kristina
Bielke, born Törne. Thereafter
vicar of Skepptuna. Brother of Petrus

P.S. 1. Kalm asks Linnaeus to give him and Spalding a list of all the plants he wants from England and he presupposes he will have the list when he returns to London in August next year. He hopes that neither Linnaeus nor the Academy of Sciences will forget Jungström, who will accompany him on his expedition.

P.S. 2. What Mitchell reports about America makes Kalm very optimistic about the success of the expedition. He will no doubt be able to send lots of seeds to the Academy already this autumn.

P.S. 3. Linnaeus must forgive Kalm if his letters from America are short; he will use all his time on scientific work. He had hopes that Linneus would send him a list of what he wanted Kalm to do for him, but he has not received any list of that kind. Kalm has many letters of recommendation, but the Academy of Sciences has neglected to procure such letters from France for his stay in Canada.

P.S. 4. Mitchell and others do not believe that it will be possible for Kalm to travel everywhere without belonging to an embassy, because of hostile Indian tribes, especially the Iroquois. He concludes by reporting of an incident that Mitchell has told him about an Englisman, who nearly was shot bcause he had writing material with him.


a. original holograph (LS, VIII, 18-19). [1] [2] [3]


1. Bref och skrifvelser (1922), vol. I:8, p. 25-33   p.25  p.26  p.27  p.28  p.29  p.30  p.31  p.32  p.33.